Jan 30, 2011

Running Free, aka equine class warfare

Running Free
1999

Yesterday I discovered that Secretariat was released On Demand and with that they threw about a dozen other horse movies up for grabs. Naturally, I picked the one that would involve the least amount of thinking.

I give you Running Free.





Back in 1914, England was sending horses down to South Africa for their copper mining. Lucky happened to be born on a ship on the way to Africa, then forced to swim to shore. Once on land, they're immediately herded onto a train and shipped to copper mine town which is located somewhere in the desert. So Lucky's been separated from his mom, more or less stops trying during the train trip, and is found in copper mine town by this little boy, who decides to take him to the copper mine town boss's barn. Boy is an orphan and has nothing, so boss basically shrugs and lets him keep the colt so long as the baby doesn't get in the way of Caesar, the Friesian stallion who hates foals without pedigrees, working class horses, and orphans.

At some point, Lucky's mom manages to find her way back to Lucky, only to be beaten up by Caesar specifically because she is "working class." Also, Caesar has a little fit because Lucky and his daughter, Beauty, are cavorting. Caesar apparently has some class issues. Hurt in some unspecified way due to her violent run in with Caesar, Lucky's mom dies and then I guess the Germans come and bomb copper mine town. Everyone jumps on a train and evacuates, leaving the horses to fend for themselves.

So, Caesar takes up roaming about porches while Lucky is forced to take up with an Oryx and a native girl in order to learn how to live in the wild. Then he comes back to copper mine town, finds Beauty, and challenges porch-roaming Caesar to a duel.

Eventually they all become wild horses, Lucky is band leader, and Boy finds him twelve years later so they can have a five minute reunion.

- The whole thing is narrated by Lucky, which turns touching moments stupid, ie Lucky's mom. When she dies, Lucky randomly says, "Mom didn't make it."

- Lucky as a foal is pretty adorable.

- Possibly, my favorite part of this movie was the revelation that Foal!Beauty was played by an animal named Noodle.

- Adult Boy should be about 22. He looks 35.

- I guess this is sort of a fictionalized version of how the South Namib Desert got its wild horse population.

So, in conclusion: trying for Black Beauty in the desert. Missed by quite a large margin.
Kinda dull, mostly predictable, kids will love it, you will not.

2 comments:

Monique said...

This was shot near South Africa and had a predominately South African cast and crew, I think Adult Boy had a fairly strong accent if i am not mistaken!

Monique said...

oh and needless to say this was hyped beyond belief down here. I was fifteen when I saw it and it felt a little weak even then. However, a good SA horse movie is Tornado!